Zimbabwe is carrying out bulk water supply trucking system in its two largest cities as a way to mitigate acute water shortages which have been worsened by a severe drought that has reduced water levels in several of the country’s largest dams.
The two cities, Harare and Bulawayo rely on supply dams that were built before the southern African nation’s independence from Britain in 1980 when their population sizes were less than half of what they are today.
In April this year, the Bulawayo City Council pleaded with government to declare the city, which is currently facing crippling water shortages, a critical water shortage area as dam levels plummeted to 31% and rationing extended to 108 hours. Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city continues to gradually increase water cuts amid decline in reservoir levels.
However, Harare City Council say the drinking water crisis is caused by a lack of foreign currency to pay for the water purification chemicals necessary to purify drinking water that is supplied by dam reservoirs. On monthly basis, the city requires at least US$2.7 million to purify water for drinking. After a devastating drought in 2019 and little rains this year, water shortages have worsened in the southern African country, forcing families to wait long hours in queues at few installed boreholes in search of safe drinking water.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government is doing its best to ease the water crisis. “On the rehabilitation of 2 033 boreholes and 31 piped water schemes, a total of 1 340 water points have been rehabilitated countrywide since the beginning of the exercise. During the reporting period, 218 water sources were rehabilitated countrywide,” she said.
“To augment water supplies, bulk water supply trucking is being carried out in Harare, Chitungwiza and Bulawayo since 3 April 2020 by private bulk water truckers and Development Partners.”
With city authorities opting for water rationing, it has forced hard pressed Zimbos to spend hours looking for water supplies and to resort to unsafe drinking water.